Added sugar is one of the worst ingredients in the modern diet, as large amounts can harm your metabolic health. High sugar intake is linked to numerous ailments, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many forms of cancer.
If you smoke or abuse drugs, tackle those problems first. Diet and exercise can wait. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation and consider avoiding it completely if you tend to drink too much.
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest vegetable oils. It’s loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants that can fight inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil benefits heart health, as people who consume it have a much lower risk of dying from heart attacks and strokes.
Eating enough protein is vital for optimal health. What’s more, this nutrient is particularly important for weight loss. High protein intake can boost metabolism significantly while making you feel full enough to automatically eat fewer calories. It can also reduce cravings and your desire to snack late at night. Sufficient protein intake has also been shown to lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
Vegetables and fruits are loaded with prebiotic fiber, vitamins, minerals, and many antioxidants, some of which have potent biological effects. Studies show that people who eat the most vegetables and fruits live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other illnesses.
Meat can be a nutritious and healthy part of your diet. It’s very high in protein and contains various important nutrients. However, problems occur when meat is overcooked or burnt. This can lead to the formation of harmful compounds that raise your risk of cancer. When you cook meat, make sure not to overcook or burn it.
The bacteria in your gut, collectively called the gut microbiota, are incredibly important for overall health. A disruption in gut bacteria is linked to some of the world’s most serious chronic diseases, including obesity. Good ways to improve gut health include eating probiotic foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, taking probiotic supplements, and eating plenty of fiber. Notably, fiber functions as fuel for your gut bacteria.
Coffee is very healthy. It’s high in antioxidants, and studies have linked coffee intake to longevity and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and numerous other illnesses.
Processed junk food is incredibly unhealthy. These foods have been engineered to trigger your pleasure centers, so they trick your brain into overeating — even promoting food addiction in some people. They’re usually low in fiber, protein, and micronutrients but high in unhealthy ingredients like added sugar and refined grains. Thus, they provide mostly empty calories.
Sugary drinks are among the most fattening items you can put into your body. This is because your brain doesn’t measure calories from liquid sugar the same way it does for solid food. Therefore, when you drink soda, you end up eating more total calories. Sugary drinks are strongly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many other health problems. Keep in mind that certain fruit juices may be almost as bad as soda in this regard, as they sometimes contain just as much sugar. Their small amounts of antioxidants do not negate the sugar’s harmful effects.